Why teens shouldn't be dieting and definitely not Weight Watchers | Body Positivity Blogger
Okay folks here's the deal. I dieted when I was a teenager and I never thought of how it affected me until this whole weight watchers teen program came out. Let me tell you, once I started thinking of my life at that time and how my life shaped afterward, I found a goldmine of horrible self-esteem problems and I'm going to share them all with you today, unfortunately.
I was 15 when I started my first diet
I was overweight to begin with, not horribly overweight but enough that I felt fat and that I wasn't attractive due to my weight. I also felt tired all the time and I thought that it was related to my weight, not anything else *hint, this is the first big warning sign*
The diet I started with is actually a great intro for people who need to curb their sugar cravings and I went into it not planning on dieting but as a way of eating which I did actually maintain for quite a few years but I started it with the wrong intention. I started it with the intention to lose weight. Anyways, it was a low glycemic way of eating.
I lost the weight but developed serious self-esteem issues.
I lost about 20-30 lbs, I can't remember exactly how much, I also started working out and combined with the way of eating it was great. Except I remember hating not being able to eat certain things and still being hungry all the time. My parents come from a generation where dieting didn't exist so they didn't know how to help me. My mum didn't think it was good that I was hungry all the time.
In my head "I looked awesome" so the hunger didn't matter to me as it was worth it. I felt more confident and yet guess what, I still wanted to lose more weight. That weight loss wasn't enough for me.
Then I went to college, school was insane, I was doing 7 full time courses and 40 hours of class time per week(!!!!!), the program I was in was intense and so I started putting weight on shortly after school started. Quite normal with stress and it doesn't mean it's a permanent thing but I felt completely broken. Fat, unwanted, like no boys were going to date me because of the way I was. Oh and that fatigue I talked about when I was 15? Yeah that never went away when I lost the weight. The problem still persisted in college and yet here I was yo-yoing again. Already, 17 and yo-yo dieting, crap.
College was 2 years. It was a fitness program and I came out a certified Personal Instructor, the top qualifications in Canada, I could literally teach anywhere and I went onto teaching for the Canadian Armed Forces.
In the first summer break of college, I felt like I was going to die.
I couldn't stand on my feet for more than 15 minutes. Turns out I had adrenal fatigue (yes it's an actual problem), I had self-diagnosed myself and started to see a homeopath when I came back to school. It took me over a year fully to heal. Once I healed I was able to start losing weight again, during this period I went gluten and dairy free (necessary to heal my adrenals.), went back to my low glycemic way of eating. All peachy keen, felt confident again with the weight loss and I met my husband during this time as well (2010).
My self-confidence was tied to my weight
THIS.IS.NOT.OKAY. Self-confidence should NEVER be solely tied to a physical appearance. If you or you have a teenager who is depressed because they think they don't look "pretty" or because their facial features aren't a certain way, or they are 15 pounds overweight. We have some serious issues. I was never really present, or living my life during the times I was overweight. I was always depressed and looked negatively on myself. Thinking that I was a failure because of that weight.
Honestly, I slam my head against a wall just thinking of how angry I am that I thought that about myself.
When I was slim, I felt beautiful and attractive and like I could take on the world. I felt relatively happy (the key word here is relative) but ALWAYS WANTED TO BE SLIMMER. WHAT THE ACTUAL EFF. What is wrong with me? Why did I feel the need to be slimmer even though I was as slim as I should have been? I was 155 SUPER FIT at 5'7"
The psychological problems I had and the intentions I had when I was 15 and started my first diet carried through to me all the way to this past year: 2016. I was 15 in 2013, that's a 13 year psychological hell hole I lived.
Don't let your teens do weight watchers.
As a mom now, and someone who has recovered from those stupid psychological diet mind games. PLEASE DO NOT LET YOUR TEENAGER DO WEIGHT WATCHERS.
The brand alone implies that you need to lose weight. Okay, yeah maybe your teen does need to lose weight but the intentions should be there for the right reasons. Looking back, I shouldn't have been looking at losing weight, I should have been looking into why I was so freaking tired all the time. Turns out I have hormone problems that have been magnified by my dieting.
We need to nurture the minds of our children, especially our teenagers in a society where social media is prevalent in making one feel like shit(I'm sure we can all attest to this? Now imagine if you had social media when you were a teen.). We need to work harder and smarter to make our children KNOW that the true value of who they are lies inside, and NOT on the outside. That they must care for their bodies from the INSIDE to the outside, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!!!
In short, here are a few ways to help your teen be healthy and have a healthy attitude towards weight.
- Focus on healthy activities AS A FAMILY. Hiking, swimming, sports activities
- Focus on mental health. Talking, writing, journaling, encouraging activities that they love.
- Focus on REAL food, real food that you have to make at the stove. Teach them how to cook real food. If you don't know how to, put them in a class.
- Have them take a basic nutrition course. What foods are good for you vs. what's not good for you. (Mcdonalds fries vs. home made sweet potatoes.)
- Have them learn to cook their own meals while they are still at home.
- Do not let them hear you talk negatively about yourself.
- Encourage confidence through complimenting.
- Encourage open conversation in times when they are struggling with low self esteem.
- There should be no negative body talk at all in your home.
Your child will mirror your thoughts and your lifestyle.
So think hard about how you live right now. If you talk negatively about yourself, or you currently do not eat right or body shame yourself (you might do it without realizing it!) and you are interested in putting them in weight watchers program. Please think of the 13 years as I went through adulthood thinking I was a good for nothing because I wasn't slim.
The weight watchers program is free this year, but won't be in the next following years because Weight watchers is on a mission to earn some serious money.
Be smart, please and think of the mental issues this will cause your child.